The hangover from Friday’s meltdown stayed with the Ohio State baseball team on Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes lost to Florida Gulf Coast in a rout, 13-1, in Fort Myers, Florida.
FGCU, ranked No. 24 in the country by Collegiate Baseball, got an astounding 4-for-6 and eight RBIs out of second baseman Matt Reardon, and saw every player in the lineup pick up at least one hit.
Aside from Reardon, the story in this one was Ohio State’s inability to get anything going offensively against the Eagles’ Kutter Crawford. The junior right-hander silenced the Buckeye bats to the tune of just a run on three hits in six innings, walking three while striking out eight.
The bullpen continued that dominance in relief, with junior Peyton Gray tossing two scoreless with three strikeouts and freshman Sebastian Gruszecki working around a pair of hits to pitch a scoreless ninth to close things out.
Junior second baseman Noah McGowan managed two of the scarlet and gray’s hits on the day, and was also hit by a pitch to reach base a third time, but there was little else that went right for the squad at the plate.
Ohio State’s Ryan Feltner had his struggles in the early season continue, allowing six runs on nine hits, issuing a pair of walks and striking out seven, in five innings pitched. On the heels of of blowing a five run lead in the ninth inning of game one, the early deficit seemed insurmountable.
The Buckeyes have lost the series, falling to 5-8 on the season, and will now try to avoid a sweep on Sunday.
A couple of self-inflicted wounds by FGCU actually gave Ohio State an early lead. Bo Coolen worked a walk to lead off the second and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Crawford. After Brady Cherry struck out, Tyler Cowles sent a grounder up the middle that shortstop Julio Gonzalez couldn’t handle. The error allowed Coolen to score.
The lead wouldn’t last for long, though, as Feltner yielded three runs in the bottom of the frame. Jake Smith walked to lead things off, and after Spencer Levine struck out, Alex Brait, Gage Morey, Reardon, and Gonzalez reeled off four straight singles. When the dust settled, the Eagles led 3-1.
Florida Gulf Coast broke things open the next inning, putting up another three runs on Feltner, all coming with two outs. Levine and Brait singled back-to-back, and Morey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Reardon then doubled to clear the bases.
That’s how things stayed until the bottom of the seventh, when Reardon struck once again. After Morey walked with two outs, the junior tripled to push the advantage out to 7-1 against Buckeye reliever Connor Curlis.
An inning later against Reece Calvert, the Eagles tacked on six more, as the lead grew to 13-1. Singles by Rivera and Fehribach and a walk by Lovell loaded the bases with nobody out. Smith delivered an RBI infield single and Levine walked to score, and Calvert’s outing was over nearly as quickly as it started.
Gavin Lyon took over with nobody out and the bases loaded and struck out the first two hitters he faced. But Reardon stepped into the batter’s box and did exactly what he’d been doing all afternoon, doubling to clear the bases. He scored when Gonzalez followed with a double of his own, capping the FGCU onslaught for the day.
The final game of the series will be played on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET with Adam Niemeyer on the mound for Ohio State trying to avoid the weekend sweep.